The Lima-Indiana oil and natural gas field; a bridge to the future

April 21, 2016

With the 1884 discovery of natural gas in Findley Ohio, a new and explosive wave of oil and natural gas development was about to be unleashed upon the upper Midwest. From Findlay, development continued north to Wood County and south to Allen County with the discovery of the North Baltimore and Lima oil fields. The wave continued southwest into north central Indiana which resulted in the discovery of the world’s first giant natural gas field. The discovery of the Lima-Indiana could not have come at a better time, the oil regions of Pennsylvania and West Virginia could not keep up with current demand and new supply needed to be found. The subsequent rush of people and capital to the Indiana gas field alone was larger than the 1849 rush to the gold fields of California. Great advances in drilling, completion, transportation, refining and marketing were developed in the 22 years the Lima-Indiana oil and gas fields were active. The topics of this talk will be the discovery, development and abandonment of the Lima-Indiana; the field that changed the upper Midwest from a predominately agricultural based economy prior to 1884 into an increasingly manufacturing based economy by 1900.